Difference Between Heart Attacks & Cardiac Arrest
A lot of people, even health care professionals, tend to use the terms “cardiac arrest” & “heat attack” interchangeably. However having a cardiac arrest and having a heart are two very different things.
This article will detail the similarities and differences between the two.
What happens during cardiac arrest?
Cardiac arrest happens when an electrical malfunction in your heart causes an irregular heartbeat (also known as arrhythmia)
When the pumping action is disrupted, your heart struggles to pump blood to your brain, lungs and the rest of your body.
When this happens a person becomes unresponsive and either starts gasping heavily for breath or stops breathing. You only have minutes to receive treatment once this happens.
What happens during a heart attack?
A heart attack is what happens when blood flow to your heart is blocked. Blocked arteries prevents oxygenated blood from reaching certain sections of your heart. If a blocked artery isn’t opened quickly, the section of your heart that is blocked off begins to die.
Symptoms include intense discomfort in areas of the upper body and chest. Followed by shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea and sometimes even vomiting. Unlike cardiac arrest, the heart usually doesn’t stop beating during this attack.
Heart attack symptoms in women can be different than in men. Women may experience back or jaw pain in addition to shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting.
What to do during cardiac arrest
Cardiac arrest can be avoided/stopped if acted on almost immediately. The first and most crucial step is to call 911. After placing the call, the second step would be to begin CPR right away.
If you have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) available, use it as soon as possible.
Fast action is crucial in these situations.
What to do during a heart attack
Always call 911 first. Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack. Try and keep the person calm while the ambulance is on the way.
If the person is not allergic to Aspirin, have them chew and swallow the recommended dose. Chewing helps the Aspirin work faster than just swallowing. Once the EMT’s arrive let them know if the person has ingested Aspirin or not.
If the person stops breathing, whoever is most qualified should begin CPR immediately. If you are unsure how to do CPR the 911 operator can walk you through the steps until the ambulance arrives.
The similarity between the 2 that causes confusion is that heart attacks do not cause cardiac arrest but the most common cause of cardiac arrest is heart attacks.
Other conditions (Valvular heart disease, Congenital heart disease, Electrical problems in the heart. ect) can lead to disrupting heart rhythm and lead to cardiac arrest.